Monster Mania: Beholders

 


Throughout the history of Dungeons and Dragons there are a few monsters and creatures that have become symbols of the game itself. The Beholder is one of those symbols. It is perhaps one of the most identifiable and menacing enemies in the games existence. Perhaps the most interesting detail about it is that it is a completely original creation for D&D. It is not based or adapted from any sort of mythology. It is wholly the brainchild of Theron Kuntz and Gary Gygax.

Beholders traditionally dwell within the dangerous deep underdark where they will enslave subterranean dwellers into a twisted attempt at a community who’s only purpose is to serve.  From my own experience and exposure to D&D has shown that anyone and everyone that encounters a Beholder instantly realizes what kind of session they are about to have. Other monsters such as Dragons have a notoriety that is universally known by players, they can somewhat expect what a Dragon will do, but Beholders have their own brand of infamy. Players fear them not only for their expansive power but also for their fearsome intelligence and magical prowess. Their trademark abilities comes from the variety of eye stalks that sprout from their spherical form. Each eye contains different magical rays to incapacitate, maim, or murder their target. Not only are they hostile to other races but they can be very xenophobic to their own kind. Over the years Beholders have evolved and mutated into a rainbow of different forms from Death Tyrant to Death kiss (side note, a Death Kiss looks really cute and vulnerable and I just want to give them a hug). These abominations are some of the most interesting and narratively enjoyable antagonists to play, and I can’t wait to use them.

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